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What Our Saviour Saw from the Cross (detail), Jame Jacque Tissot  [1890?] (Public Domain Image)

The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors

by Kersey Graves


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This is one of the most controversial books about the Christian narrative of Jesus ever published. Graves tried to gather together all of what was known at the time about other similar stories of gods who walked the earth, preached ethical and mystical doctrines, and ended up as deicides. Today, folklorists have discovered a set of world-wide themes relating a story of a culture-hero who has a miraculous birth and tragic death. This is one of the archetypal stories which Jung and Campbell discussed. It is now considered less shocking that incidents in religious narrative could be drawn from the global bank of folklore motifs. This does not lessen the impact, however, on traditional believers in these narratives as the absolute truth.

So is the need for a deathless hero who saves humanity part of the deep structure of our brain? Is religion simply filling a psychological need which is part of being human? This book may be picked apart in its details; however, it was one of the first to explore this 'big' question, an answer to which is as pressing today as it was then. The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors raised a host of questions, few of which have yet been adequately answered, over a century later.

There are serious flaws in this book. Graves was apparently not working from original sources, with the exception of the Bible; he seems to have relied on books such as Higgins' Anacalypsis, without necessarily citing them. He muddles Vaishnava Hinduism and Buddhism, two belief systems with fundamental differences. That said, the traditional narratives of Krishna and Buddha do contain motifs in common with the NT stories of Jesus.

Production notes. This text first appeared on the Internet at another site, in a slightly defective and added-emphasis version with a disclaimer on each page. I have corrected the text to reflect the original book as closely as possible, as per this sites' standards. Some have criticized Graves for excessive typos (as if this was an intellectual failing on his part), and there are certainly a few in this book. However, I can state definitively after a modern spell-check of the text that they are not particularly excessive compared to any given book from this period.

--J.B. Hare, 8/5/2007.

Title Page
Address to the Clergy
Chapter I: Rival Claims of the Saviors
Chapter II: Messianic Prophecies
Chapter III: Prophecies by the Figure of a Serpent
Chapter IV: Miraculous and Immaculate Conception of the Gods
Chapter V: Virgin Mothers and Virgin-Born Gods
Chapter VI: Stars Point Out the Time and the Saviors’ Birth-Place
Chapter VII: Angels, Shepherds, and Magi Visit the Infant Saviors
Chapter VIII: The Twenty-Fifth of December the Birthday of the Gods
Chapter IX: Titles of the Saviors
Chapter X: The Saviors of Royal Descent, But Humble Birth
Chapter XI: Christ's Genealogy
Chapter XII: The World's Saviors Saved from Destruction in Infancy
Chapter XIII: The Saviors Exhibit Early Proofs of Divinity
Chapter XIV: The Saviors’ Kingdoms Not of this World
Chapter XV: The Saviors Were Real Personages
Chapter XVI: Sixteen Saviors Crucified
Chapter XVII: The Aphanasia, or Darkness, at the Crucifixion
Chapter XVIII: Descent of the Saviors into Hell
Chapter XIX: Resurrection of the Savior
Chapter XX: Reappearance and Ascension of the Saviors
Chapter XXI: The Atonement—Its Oriental or Heathen Origin
Chapter XXII: The Holy Ghost of Oriental Origin
Chapter XXIII: The Divine “Word” of Oriental Origin
Chapter XXIV: The Trinity Very Anciently a Current Heathen Doctrine
Chapter XXV: Absolution, and the Confession of Sins, of Heathen Origin
Chapter XXVI: Origin of Baptism by Water, Fire, Blood, and the Holy Ghost
Chapter XXVII: The Sacrament or Eucharist of Heathen Origin
Chapter XXVIII: Anointing with Oil of Oriental Origin
Chapter XXIX: How Men, Including Jesus Christ, Came to be Worshipped as Gods
Chapter XXX: Sacred Cycles Explaining the Advent of the Gods, the Master-Key to the Divinity of Jesus Christ
Chapter XXXI: Christianity Derived from Heathen and Oriental Systems
Chapter XXXII: Three Hundred and Forty-Six Striking Analogies Between Christ and Chrishna
Chapter XXXIII: Apollonius, Osiris, Magus, Etc.—Gods
Chapter XXXIV: The Three Pillars of the Christian Faith—Miracles, Prophecies, and Precepts
Chapter XXXV: Logical or Common Sense View of the Doctrine of Divine Incarnation
Chapter XXXVI: Philosophical Absurdities of the Doctrine of the Divine Incarnation
Chapter XXXVII: Physiological Absurdities of the Doctrine of the Divine Incarnation
Chapter XXXVIII: A Historical View of the Divinity of Jesus Christ
Chapter XXXIX: The Scriptural View of Christ's Divinity
Chapter XL: A Metonymic View of the Divinity of Jesus Christ
Chapter XLI: The Precepts and Practical Life of Jesus Christ
Chapter XLII: Christ As a Spiritual Medium
Chapter XLIII: Conversion, Repentance, and “Getting Religion” of Heathen Origin
Chapter XLIV: The Moral Lessons of Religious History
Chapter XLV: Conclusion and Review